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Shoplifting 'costs retailers £800 million a year'

Published 04/11/2015

Shops lose a total of £1.57 billion each year to theft, according to the latest Global Retail Theft Barometer
Shops lose a total of £1.57 billion each year to theft, according to the latest Global Retail Theft Barometer
The report warned that stores could see a sharp rise in thefts during key winter sales periods including Black Friday

Britain's shops lose £800 million a year as a result of shoplifting, with wine and lingerie among the most stolen items, a report has found.

With employees stealing a further £770 million of goods, its means shops lose a total of £1.57 billion each year to theft, according to the latest Global Retail Theft Barometer, compiled by retail security firm Checkpoint Systems.

It also warned that stores could see a sharp rise in thefts over coming weeks as criminals target the key winter sales periods, including Black Friday and Boxing Day.

Small items and those with a high resale value are the most likely to be stolen, such as fashion accessories, power tools, mobile device accessories, wine and spirits, and razor blades.

Among the more surprising items likely to be targeted by thieves are door locks, lingerie and cheese.

"Interestingly, one major UK retailer is security tagging prosciutto ham in an effort to reduce shrinkage of one of its most popular festive food lines over the key winter sales period," the report added.

According to official police data, there were more than 329,000 recorded incidents of shoplifting across the UK last year. This represent a 3% rise on 2013 and around 27,000 more than in 2012.

A number of police forces reported increases of more than 5% compared with the previous year. Of the 44 forces analysed, just 14 recorded a decline in shoplifting last year.

In terms of the total value of goods lost, the UK ranked sixth highest globally, behind the US, China, Germany, Russia and Japan.

Responding to the findings, Russell Holland of Checkpoint Systems said: "Most people expect shoplifting to be the main source of losses in the retail industry - indeed with around 900 incidents being recorded by the police every day it remains a major issue for stores across the country.

"However, there are other areas, such as internal loss and process errors that should not be forgotten.

"The problem is that shrinkage not only represents an erosion of the bottom line, it means someone else can't buy that product for its true value."

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